SPEAKING ILL OF THE DEAD
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2007 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.
> My maternal grandmother used to say, "Don't speak ill of the dead." But
> the dead are no different from the living-there's no need to "protect"
> them or others from the truth.
... unless they are fundamentalists or Republicans (like an Aussie Liberal)
> the truth is, Jerry Falwell was a life-long bigot and hatemonger who
> cloaked his hatred in the guise of Christianity. Yet many who felt the
> scourge of his vengefulness believe he deserves to burn in hell, rather
> than ascend to the heaven he preached was reserved for only a very select
... only Trew Kristyuns!
> I'd like people to remember that Falwell was a vicious segregationist and
> a virulent homophobe who also believed women were second-class citizens.
> After one of the worst tragedies ever to befall America, the 9/11 attacks,
> Falwell said on national TV: "I really believe that the pagans, and the
> abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are
> actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People
> for the American Way-all of them who have tried to secularize America-I
> point the finger in their face and say 'You helped this happen.'"
> A few days later, after a palpable outrage forced the issue, Falwell said
> he "mis-spoke." He never apologized for the substance of his remarks,
> Falwell's rebuke should have shocked no one. For decades Falwell, a
> Southerner, had preached segregation from the pulpit with a vengeance. He
> blasted changes from the U.S. Supreme Court, that led to integration,
> which he was adamantly against. Falwell slammed the High Court with this
> statement, part of a larger sermon to his flock on the evils of
> integration: "If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's
> word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the
> 1954 decision (Brown v. Topeka Board of Education) would never have been
> made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of
> distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line. The true Negro does
> not want integration. He realizes his potential is far better among his
> own race."
> Of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he had
> referred to as a Communist, Falwell declared: "I must personally say that
> I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights
> leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, who are known to
> have left-wing associations. It is very obvious that the Communists, as
> they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense
> situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about
> violence and bloodshed."
> Falwell was known to have worked with former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover
> in the smear campaign against King.
> Falwell believed women needed to stay "in their place" and that their
> place was second to men. He was anti-feminist and blamed feminism for what
> he perceived as the destruction of the American family. Falwell noted, "I
> listen to feminists and all these radical gals. These women just need a
> man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man
> to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew
> it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They
> hate men; that's their problem."
> Jerry Falwell preached bigotry all his life. In the end the Reverend
> Falwell leaves not a legacy of Christian fellowship like King did, but
> leaves instead the stain of hatred and divisiveness. Neither he nor his
> ministry of hate will be missed.
There is a Martin Luther King Day but there will never be a Jerry Falwell
Day unless it falls on April 1st.